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News Release

Office of News and Information
212 Whitehead Hall / 3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-2692
Phone: (410) 516-7160 / Fax (410) 516-5251

November 19, 1996
CONTACT: Leslie Rice

"Traditions in Excellence: 100 Teapots from the Norwich Castle Museum"
An Exhibit at Homewood House Museum

    "What would the world do without tea? How did it exist?"
    Sydney Smith 1771-1845
    English writer, clergyman

Beginning Saturday, Jan. 11, Homewood House Museum will offer visitors a rare look at the history of one of this country's earliest and most engaging social customs. For three months, a traveling exhibition of 100 teapots from the acclaimed Twining Teapot Gallery at the Castle Museum in Norwich, England, will be on display at the historic Federal period mansion on The Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus, 3400 N. Charles St. in Baltimore.

The exhibition, titled "Traditions in Excellence: 100 Teapots from the Norwich Castle Museum," explores the custom of tea preparation and tea drinking in the 18th and 19th centuries through its most prominent object, the British teapot. The 100 teapots in this exhibition are the finest examples culled from the Twining Teapot Gallery's remarkable collection of some 3,000 teapots.

By the 1790s in both America and Great Britain, the ritual of tea-time held an important place in upper-class social life and commanded certain rules for preparation and presentation. Visitors to the exhibit will see why part of the attraction of tea drinking lay in the beautiful and delicate teapots it required. In those days, teapots were status symbols and tea drinking provided the opportunity for people to show off their wealth and taste.

The history of the British teapot cannot be separated from that of Twinings, which is believed to be the world's oldest tea merchant, operating from the same location in Strand, London, since 1706. Twinings has provided funds to house, catalogue and promote the collection at the Norwich Castle Museum.

Samuel Twining, a ninth generation Twining family member and director of Twinings Ltd., will visit Homewood House from Friday, Jan. 10, until Sunday, Jan. 12, to meet with visitors and talk about the history of tea and the fine art of serving tea.

Note to press: Samuel Twinings will be the United States and available for telephone interviews to be taped for future broadcast Dec. 3 through Dec. 5.

The exhibit will appear at Homewood House from Jan. 11 through March 25. Homewood House is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from noon until 4 p.m. Following is a schedule of special lectures and activities related to the Traditions In Excellence exhibit. Reservations may be obtained by calling (410) 516-5589.



Friday, Jan. 10
12:30 p.m.
Press opening luncheon at Homewood with Sam Twining.
Saturday, Jan. 11
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Public opening of exhibit.
Saturday, Jan. 11
(reservations required)
Special Lectures with Sam Twining
1 p.m. -- "The History of Tea."
3 p.m. -- "The Proper Making and Serving of Tea."
Note: These will be small, personal groups of no more than 25. Afternoon tea will be served. $8 for one session, $12 for both. Reservations are taken on a first-come, first-serve, basis.
Sunday, Jan. 12
Noon to 4 p.m.
Sam Twining will again be available to meet with museum visitors.
Saturday, Jan. 25
2 p.m., Merrick Barn Theater
"Tales from a Well Traveled Teapot." A lecture and tea with Jennifer Goldsborough. Goldsborough, a nationally renowned historian, will present an overview of tea, the social custom in England and America. She will discuss the development of tea equipment and accessories. $15. Reservations required.
Sunday, Feb. 2
1 to 3 p.m.
A Teddy Bear Tea Party. A grand tea party for children and their teddy bears. $5. Reservations required.
Saturday, Feb. 15
2 to 4 p.m.
Valentine's Day Tea. Tea and sweets at the Johns Hopkins Club. $20. Reservations required.
Wednesday, Feb. 26
Noon, in the Clipper Room of Shriver Hall.
Tea and Sympathy: The Ritualization of an English Custom," a lecture by Sidney Mintz, William L. Straus Jr. Professor in Anthropology. Free. Sponsored by the Office of Special Events Wednesday Noon series.
Tuesday, March 25
10 a.m., Merrick Barn Theater.
Discovery Day with Letitia Roberts of Sotheby's. Roberts, senior vice president and head of the Porcelain Department of Sotheby's will evaluate your porcelain or ceramic objects. Evaluation of one object is included in the admission, evaluation of subsequent objects will be made for an additional fee. $10. information, send e-mail to dro@jhu.edu.

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